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PALISADES – Orangetown is taking part in the search for a builder to undertake a multi-million dollar redevelopment of the former Dolce-IBM Conference Center and hotel.Town officials are working with the property's China-based owner to find an investor willing to redevelop the now-named HNA Conference Center into a viable tax-producing business. The center, which has changed hands several times in recent years, is vacant and located on 106 acres along Route 9W.When IBM owned the property, the business cente...
PALISADES – Orangetown is taking part in the search for a builder to undertake a multi-million dollar redevelopment of the former Dolce-IBM Conference Center and hotel.
Town officials are working with the property's China-based owner to find an investor willing to redevelop the now-named HNA Conference Center into a viable tax-producing business. The center, which has changed hands several times in recent years, is vacant and located on 106 acres along Route 9W.
When IBM owned the property, the business center-hotel comprised 206 guest rooms, 48,000 square feet of meeting space, dozens of meeting rooms, a pair of restaurants, gardens, and a koi pond. The center sits near the private Rockland Country Club golf course.
The China-based HNA Group, the Chinese conglomerate owner of Hainan Airlines, bought the property in 2016 for $59.6 million. HNA also has interests in tourism, hotels, financial services and real estate.
Now that HNA wants to sell, Orangetown wants the ensure its residents get the benefits of redevelopment. Town officials reached out to HNA to assist, said attorney Michael Zarin, the town's special counsel on the project.
"Orangetown got involved basically because it’s a critical asset in the town with respect to an underutilized and vacant property," Zarin said. "The town wants the property redeveloped in a way that conforms with their vision of the town."
The vision includes a design in harmony with the wide-open area that preserves natural features and provides property taxes, Zarin said.
The town would form a public-private partnership with the developer, providing guidance on development schemes and any zoning issues needed to make the project successful, Zarin said. The redevelopment would need approval from the town land-use agencies, including the planning board and potentially the zoning board of appeals.
Zarin said similar development partnerships have occurred in New Rochelle for the city's downtown revitalization, the Hudson River waterfront in New York City, and redevelopment of former psychiatric centers.
HNA, however, can legally sell the property to any business or investor it chooses.
"Legally, anyone can negotiate directly with HNA," Zarin said.
The town and HNA plan to have a developer chosen by mid-April.
The schedule outlined in the town proposal calls for a tour of the facilities and grounds for respondents on Feb. 1. The requests for expression of interest are due by March 1, with finalists being notified March 22, interviews during the week of March 29, and selection of the preferred developer on April 12.
A redevelopment project can include a variety of uses, ranging from commercial, recreational, hotel, or conference center, a spa and wellness center, medical office campus, movie studio, residential and senior-assisted living, according to the proposal seeking a developer.
"The town envisions a use that will have the public purpose of enhancing the sound growth of the town, increasing its tax base, preserving key environmental on-site features, providing public amenities and uses, and encouraging good design standards – a marquis project that contributes to the vibrancy of the community," according to the request.
One interested investor is William Procida, president of Procida Funding & Advisors, a commercial real estate lender and advisory firm. He said his multimillion-dollar bid fell short of HNA's offering in 2016. He has been negotiating with the company and intends to make a pitch to Orangetown.
Procida is a big-time investor once dubbed "The Boy Who Would Be Trump." He owns the Tallman Beach Pool, and held a mortgage on the Nyack College, hoping for redevelopment into housing before the Ramapo-based Hasidic Jewish Yeshiva of Viaznitz bought the 106-acre college campus.
Procida said he lives in the area and wants to restore the center to what he calls its "glory days" of IBM. He has previously proposed townhouses on the site and for Rockland Community College to use the classrooms.
Procida said he's put together top-notch people for the redevelopment. And the center is more personal.
He said most people didn't go to a corporate center for dinner or drinks. He imagines the redevelopment would include a world-class restaurant and a "groovy bar."
"I don’t want it in the wrong hands," Procida said. "The last thing I need is another project. We have a half-billion in projects. If this was in Pennsylvania, I probably wouldn't go after it. This is a block from my house. IBM spared no expense. It is built like a fort. And its layouts are gorgeous."
Steve Lieberman covers government, breaking news, courts, police, and investigations. Reach him at [email protected]. Twitter: @lohudlegal. Read more articles and bio. Our local coverage is only possible with support from our readers.
One of the biggest shopping centers in the Hudson Valley is at risk of foreclosure.Citing a decrease in shopping trends as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a debt of over $415 million, investors are seeking foreclosure at the Palisades Center in Rockland County.In court documents dated February 10th, a company called Wilmington Trust [National Association, as Trustee for the benefit of Holders of Palisades Center Trust] filed to foreclose on the Palisades Center, citing that ownership had defaulted on a $418.5 million loa...
One of the biggest shopping centers in the Hudson Valley is at risk of foreclosure.
Citing a decrease in shopping trends as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and a debt of over $415 million, investors are seeking foreclosure at the Palisades Center in Rockland County.
In court documents dated February 10th, a company called Wilmington Trust [National Association, as Trustee for the benefit of Holders of Palisades Center Trust] filed to foreclose on the Palisades Center, citing that ownership had defaulted on a $418.5 million loan.
The Palisades Center, the 12th largest mall in the country (space-wise), is a mega shopping center in Rockland County with more than 2.2 million square feet of retail, restaurant, entertainment and office space, is owned and operated by Pyramid Management Group out of Syracuse.
According to the official court document:
This action is brought by Plaintiff under Article 13 of the New York Real Property Actions and Proceedings Law to foreclose certain mortgages securing a loan in the original principal amount of $418,500,000.00 (“Loan”) made to EklecCo NewCo LLC (“Borrower” or “EklecCo”), which is due and payable in full.
Reports indicate that the original loan from 2016 from JPMorgan Chase & Barclays was due to mature in April of 2021, however, the Pyramid management group requested a 'temporary moratorium on payments early in the pandemic.' As cited by therealdeal.com, a standstill agreement was reached in June 2020, and the loan's maturity date was extended through October of 2022.
Still, the debt remains unpaid, and Pyramid/The Palisades Center went into default as of November 2022.
As of now, Wilmington Trust has asked to put the property into receivership and then would like the mall to be sold 'as a whole.' A receivership essentially assigns a receiver or trustee to manage the company, including all financial and operating decisions.
Then on February 10th, Wilmington Trust filed an official commercial mortgage foreclosure.
The court documents detail that Wilmington Trust, the Plaintiff, elects to have the 'the Borrower’s personal property sold together with the Mortgaged Property at a single public sale.' It appears they would like the entire mall, including the fixtures to be sold off so that the lenders receive all proceeds to pay off the debt, as well as interest and court costs.
This story is still developing.
A two-car accident during Wednesday morning's rush hour caused a traffic nightmare in the Hudson Valley.An early morning accident forced a major traffic delay on the Palisades Interstate Parkway in the Hudson Valley. Firefighters had to deal with one car that was on fire and another car that rollover with one person trapped inside.On Wednesday around 6:30 a.m., first responders rushed to the Palisades Interstate Parkway in the Hudson Valley for reports of a bad accident. The Thiells Fire Department was requested to respond to a...
A two-car accident during Wednesday morning's rush hour caused a traffic nightmare in the Hudson Valley.
An early morning accident forced a major traffic delay on the Palisades Interstate Parkway in the Hudson Valley. Firefighters had to deal with one car that was on fire and another car that rollover with one person trapped inside.
On Wednesday around 6:30 a.m., first responders rushed to the Palisades Interstate Parkway in the Hudson Valley for reports of a bad accident. The Thiells Fire Department was requested to respond to a reported vehicle roll-over and entrapment.
The two-car accident happened near exit 14 on the Palisades Interstate Parkway southbound, near mile marker 27.2, according to Rockland Fires.
After arriving, members of the Thiells Fire Department were told about one car on fire. Firefighters quickly put out the fire with no injuries reported to the driver, according to the Thiells Fire Department
The Palisades Interstate Parkway is a nearly 40-mile-long highway that spans two states, New York and New Jersey. It connects Orange and Rockland County in New York to Bergen County in New Jersey.
Firefighters were also told about one person who was trapped in a car. That person was said to be conscious and alert. Within about five minutes, the person was removed from the vehicle, fire officials say.
"Within 5 minutes the victim was extricated," the Thiells Fire Department stated. "Great job by our members and all emergency personnel on (the) scene!"
During Wednesday's morning commute, the accident caused a long delay on the Palisades Interstate Parkway. The Palisades Interstate Parkway Southbound near exit 14 in the Town of Haverstraw, Rockland County was shut down for about two hours.
Officials did not report on the drivers, but a family member on Facebook says her nephew, who was involved in the crash is "ok."
"My nephew was involved in this accident this morning! Thank god he was ok," Sharon Kesar-Jones wrote on Facebook.
Another person on Facebook reports both drivers are ok.
"They are both doing good," Laura Shanahan Gluck wrote.
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The Palisades Center faces foreclosure and could be sold off.Its mortgage lenders have gone to court to demand action against EklecCo and the other Pyramid Cos. affiliates that own the mall.Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann said that he hopes it doesn't come to that."We're hopeful that they will be able to sort something out financially," said the supervisor, who has had his own tense dealings with the mall in the past over property taxes and other issues.The mall is overdue on repayin...
The Palisades Center faces foreclosure and could be sold off.
Its mortgage lenders have gone to court to demand action against EklecCo and the other Pyramid Cos. affiliates that own the mall.
Clarkstown Supervisor George Hoehmann said that he hopes it doesn't come to that.
"We're hopeful that they will be able to sort something out financially," said the supervisor, who has had his own tense dealings with the mall in the past over property taxes and other issues.
The mall is overdue on repaying a $418.5 million mortgage it took out in 2016. The town recently valued the property at more than $518 million, but EklecCo has challenged that assessment, saying the megamall is worth just a fraction of that.
Hoehmann on Thursday called the mall a "major asset, not just for the people of Rockland and the people of Clarkstown, but for the financial institutions." He added, "I can imagine that everyone involved would want this asset protected."
The mall's creditors filed a commercial mortgage foreclosure complaint on Feb. 10 in state Supreme Court in the County of New York.
The filing asks for the mall, right down to the fixtures, be sold off, with the lenders getting the proceeds to pay off its overdue mortgage, interest and court costs.
In the court filing, Wilmington Trust, the mortgage trustee, said, "Plaintiff elects to have the Borrower’s personal property sold together with the Mortgaged Property at a single public sale."
Until then, Wilmington Trust states it wants the court to put the property in receivership, so the mall can "operate the property for the benefit of all parties."
Rockland County Executive Ed Day said elected officials are urging the bankers to find a way to keep the mall running as long as possible and find short- and long-term solutions.
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"Regardless of how one feels about the mall the unalterable fact is the Palisades Center is a major tax revenue driver for Clarkstown, the school district and the County of Rockland," Day said Thursday.
Hoehmann agreed. He said the mall's operators have reenvisioned it before and continue to look at ideas, including adding residential buildings, a "live-work-play" concept that other malls in the region have adopted.
"There's a lot of value at the mall," Hoehmann said.
The relationship between the mall and the community has been a bit rocky even before the first backhoe was digging around the swampy land.
Even before the mall opened in 1998, the company had challenged its tax assessment. Clarkstown Town Board meetings grew raucous as neighbors pushed back against permissions sought by the builder.
Since then, the 2.2 million-square-foot shopping and entertainment complex, less than an hour's drive from New York City, has become a destination spot.
Day called the mall "one of the premiere tourist destinations in this county, bringing in additional outside revenue that pays for local services."
Among the largest malls in the nation, the Palisades Center has long been a major property taxpayer for the county, town and local school district. It's also fought those tax bills.
In its latest tax assessment challenge, filed with the Rockland County Clerk on July 26, 2022, the mall's owners cite "continuing pressure ... especially for department stores and fashion retailers that were once the primary focus on Petitioners' business." The challenge also said the impact of the COVID pandemic has been a "game-changer" for enclosed malls like the Palisades Center.
Hoehmann on Thursday said the tax challenge is ongoing. "We are very confident that our numbers will be justified," he said.
According to the court action initiated by Wilmington Trust, the mall's owners secured mortgages in April 2016 worth $418.5 million that are now past due. The court filing cites extensions for payments that have so far gone unfulfilled.
Meanwhile, the mall's owners, in a property tax challenge lodged last year, said the property's barely worth $172.6 million.
In July 2022, EklecCo, the local arm of mall owner of Pyramid Cos., filed a challenge to its property tax assessment set by the Town of Clarkstown in New York State Supreme Court in Rockland.
The mall's owners have to respond by next month or the court could act without their participation.
A spokesperson for EklecCo did not return a request for comment.
Various promissory notes issued in April 2016 to JPMorgan and Barclays banks added up to the amount now sought by Wilmington Trust. The mortgages were made against the mall property itself. According to the court filing, the mortgaged property is a "mixed use development consisting of a consumer shopping center, parking, offices, and other uses commonly known as Palisades Center located in Clarkstown, New York."
In 2020, citing strains from the COVID pandemic, the mall and Wilmington Trust reached a deal that extended the maturity date of the loan to Oct. 9, 2022.
The mall, according to its creditor, didn't pay.
"Borrower failed to repay the Outstanding Amounts on the Maturity Date, and such failure is continuing," the court filing states.
The creditor and mall's owner reached a "forbearance agreement" that gave the mall until Nov. 8 to come up with the money.
Hoehmann said he's taking a wait-and-see approach.
"They've been in this position before," Hoehmann said. "They were able to restructure a deal."
While most people these days are swapping the Big Apple for a sunny state, Matt Damon appears to be doing the opposite.The actor just listed his glorious Pacific Palisades, California home for a whopping $21 million so he could move back to the East Coast for good.In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, listing agent Eric Haskell of the Agency explained how Damon, 50, dec...
While most people these days are swapping the Big Apple for a sunny state, Matt Damon appears to be doing the opposite.
The actor just listed his glorious Pacific Palisades, California home for a whopping $21 million so he could move back to the East Coast for good.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, listing agent Eric Haskell of the Agency explained how Damon, 50, decided to make New York City his primary home for him and his family.
In 2017, Damon bought a $16 million penthouse in Brooklyn Heights.
And while they found a new city to call home, they left behind the Zen life. The property stands at a grand 13,508 square feet. The 0.68-acre estate is considered among the most spacious homesites in Upper Riviera.
The seven-bedroom, nine-bathroom home is situated on an ultra-private street for optimal security. It was listed on Jan. 19.
Bathed in natural light, the estate boasts a central atrium with a mahogany ceiling, open family rooms for optimum sunlight and a chef’s kitchen with top-notch appliances. The property includes an expansive resort-style backyard with a pool, spa, waterfall, koi pond and lanai for alfresco dining.
Amenities include a game room, bar, gym, media room and an office. It also includes separate staff quarters and a wine room. The primary suites come with dual dressing rooms and a spa-style bath.
The home offers complete serenity and is moments from the Palisades Village and Riviera Country Club.
Damon bought the home back in 2012.